Brussels, European Parliament
March 1-2, 2005
- University studies
Candidature: Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerp
Doctorate: Universitaire Instelling Antwerp
- Acknowledgment general surgeon 1983
- Acknowledgment emergency doctor 1995
- Specific training for magistrate concerning narcotics-drugs, 17 April 2001
- Appointment Professor, January 2004
- Active member WIZ (work-group international missions Red Cross)
- From 1984 part-time, since 1986 full-time head of the emergency University Hospital Antwerp
- Medical director Eurocall (1985 – 1995)
- Teacher fireman school, Antwerp, since 1985
- Initiator MIP (medical intervention plan), Antwerp, since 1987
- Deputy Health Inspector, Antwerp 1988-1989
- Teacher disaster medicine, K.U.L. since 1990
- Honorary lecturer U.I.A. since 1991
- Director DMH (Urgent Medical Care), since 1992
- Teacher sport medicine, U.I.A. 1992-1993
- Teacher at the faculty pharmaceutical sciences U.I.A., course DMH
- Chairman of rendering service to people with NAH
- Training for magistrates concerning “narcotics”, Ministerie van Justitie – 17 April 2001, 16 may 2001, Ittre
- “Femora-distal Grafting using the Human Umbilical vein Graft: late complications”, A. Nevelsteen, MD, J. Deleersnijder, MD, L. Beaucourt, MD, and R. Suy, MD, in: The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery, Vol. 24, nr 4, July-Augustus 1983.
- Kersschot EA, Beaucourt LE, Degryse HR, De Schepper AM. Röntgenographical detection of cocaine smuggling in the alimentary track.
- ROFO Fortschr Geb Rontgenstr Nuklearmed. 1985 Mar; 142(3): 295-8.
- PMID: 2984733 (pubmed – indexed for MEDLINE)
- Bossaert LL, Demey HE, Colement LJ, Beaucourt L, Fierens H, Dirix L, Pintens H.
- Prehospital thrombolytic treatment of acute myocardial infarction with anisoylated plasminogen streptokinase activator complex.
Crit Card Med. 1988 Sep; 16(9): 823-30 PMID: 3042284 (pub med – indexed for MEDLINE)
- Hartoko TJ, Demey HE, De Schepper AM, Beaucourt L, Bossaert L.
The Body packer syndrome – cocaine smuggling in the gastro-intestinal trackt.
Klin Wonchenschr. 1988 Nov 15;66(22): 1116-20.
PMID 3236761 (pubmed – indexed for MEDLINE)
- ‘Tolerance and Pharmacokinetics of flunarizine after Cardiac Arrest’, Fifth International Congress Belgian Society of Anesthesia and Reanimation, September 1988.
- ‘Congress Abstract Book 2; “Experience with dialysis treatment after the earth quake in Armenia, p. 174-175, 1989.
- Selala MI, Janssens JJ, Jorens PG, Bossaert LL, Beaucourt L, Schepens PJ.
An improperly labeled container with chloropicrin: a farmer’s nightmare.
Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1989 Feb; 42(2): 202-8 No abstract available.
PMID: 2920227 (pub med – indexed for MEDLINE)
- Co – author of the book “Gezondheidszorg in Vlaanderen 1991”
- Author of the chapter in the book Trauma : “Organisatie Dringende Hulpverlening”, 1993
- Promoter “De Gemeenschappelijke milieudienst en rampbestrijding”, V.U.B. 1993
- Selala ML, Coucke V, Daelemans F, Musuku A, Jorens P, Beaucourt L, Schepens PJ.
Fire fighting: how safe are firefighters.
Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 1993 Sep; 51(3):325-32 No abstract available.
PMID 8219585 (pub med – indexed for MEDLINE)
- Schwagten V, Beaucourt LM, Van Schil P.
Traumatic manbubriosternal joint disruption: case report.
J. trauma. 1994 May; 36(5) : 747-8
PMID 8189482 (pubmed – indexed for MEDLINE)
- Author of the book “Je leeft maar één keer”, 1995
- Author of a chapter in the book “Op weg naar een geïntegreerd drugbeleid in België?”, 1996
- Author of the book “Stop de oorlog op onze wegen”,1996
- Co – author of the brochure “Wat na een verkeersongeval?”, 1997
- “Verkeersongevallen in de provincie Antwerpen”. L. Beaucourt, P.Van Aken, H. Maréchal. Alert nr.12 December 1997
- Schepens P, Pauwels A, Van Damme P, Musuku A, Beaucourt L, SelalaMI.
A drug of Abuse and Alcohol in Weekend Drivers Involved in Car crashes in Belgium.
Ann of Emergency Medicine,
Ann Emerg Med. 1998 May: 36(5): 633-7
PMID 9581148 (pub med – indexed for MEDLINE)
- “Zelfmoord of verkeersongeval?” (Suicide or traffic accident?) Study executed by order of Mw. W. De Meester, Vlaams minister van Financiën, Begroting en Gezondheidsbeleid; Dr. L. Beaucourt, P. Van Aken, G. Beel
- Podologie, Nachweisbare Vorzüge “Zur Hyperbaren Sauerstofftherapie am Diabetischen Fus” Dr. L. Beaucourt, Dr. S. Van Poucke, 22, Podologie, L, Heft 6/1999.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen as useful, adjunctive therapeutic Modality in Compartment Syndrome. Publication in “Acta Chirurgica Belgica”.
- BHL News September 2000 “L’oxygénothérapie hyperbare” Dr. Sven Van Poucke, Dr.L. Beaucourt.
- WCS NEWS, December 2000, “Hyperbare O2-therapie, state of the art. S. Van Poucke, Dr. L. Beaucourt.
- Van Poucke S, Leenders T, Saldien V, Verstreken J, Beaucourt L, Adriaensen H.
Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) as Useful, Adjunctive Therapeutic Modality in Compartment Syndrome.
Acta Chir Belg. 2001 Mar-Apr. , 101(2), 73-4
- The influence of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) on primary, platelet-related heamostasis. Dr. Van Poucke, Dr. Stockman, Kris Peelaers, Prof. Van De Heyning, Dr. L. Beaucourt. 28th annual meeting of the European Underwater and Baromedical Society. September 4-8 2002
- The use of the Oxylator EM-100 in a hyperbaric environment. Dr. Van Poucke, Galicia Jurgen, Dr. Deraedt D , Dr. Beaucourt.
- Pulmonary contusion during scuba diving. Dr. Van Poucke, Dr. Stockman, Dr. Deraedt D., Dr. Beaucourt
- Drug use during weekends by young drivers. M. Martin, Dr. L. Beaucourt, P.Van Aken, (Uza) A. Verlinden (Provincial Goverment Antwerp)
- Pyoderma Gangrenosum, a Challenging Complication of Bilateral Mammoplasty?
Sven Van Poucke1, MD, Philippe Jorens2, MD, PhD, Raymond Peeters 3, MD, Werner Jacobs4, MD, PhD, Bart Op De Beeck5, MD, Julien Lambert6, MD, PhD, Lic Beaucourt, MD
Form the Departments of Emergency Medicine1, Intensive Care Medicine2, Plastic Sergery3, Pathology4, Radiology5 and Dermatology6. University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium.
- Co-auteur - Case report “William Tell” Injury. American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) de Jongh K, Dohmen D, Salgado R, Ozsarlak O, Van Goethem JWM, Beaucourt L, Jorens PG, Van Havenbergh TW, De Schepper AM, Parizel PM. “William Tell” Injury: MDCT of an Arrow Through the Head. Am J Roentgenol (AJR) 2004; 182 (6) : 1551-1553
- Bilateral adrenal hemorrhage and acute adrenal insufficiency in a blunt abdominal trauma: a case-report and literature review. Eur J Emerg Med. 2004 Jun;11 (3):164-7. Related Articles, links. Francque SM, Schwagten VM, Ysebaert DK, Van Marck EA, Beaucourt LA.
A “Harm Reduction” Policy means harm promotion
Good morning members of parliament, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to Brussels.
I am honoured to be here and I enjoy participating to this conference, that is groundbreaking in search of solutions, for what I believe, is one of the most serious problems.
Our societies are threatened by the scourge of drugs.
A nationwide study carried out from March to May 2003 on 15 to 16 years old in Belgian schools, demonstrate that the lifetime prevalence of any illicit drug use is 32.6%.
Behind these numbers are senseless victims of drug abuse that leave family and friends in endless pain and grief.
Indeed, research shows that, on average, each drug abuser exerts a detrimental influence on 4 close relatives or friends, whose well being is so severely compromised, that additional care is needed.
The fundamental conviction underlying the aim of a drug-free society is that all people are entitled to a dignified existence.
Illegal drug use deprives the individual quickly of his or her freedom.
The science of the brain teach us why!
It is a fact that illegal drugs change behaviour, by changing the way the brain works.
Illegal drugs turn on the reward system with a potency that natural rewards can rarely match.
Illegal drugs corrupt the brains electrical transmissions and traps the drug user in a reverberating life of addiction.
It is literally a hijacking of the BRAN’S survival systems confusing day to day survival with the need for more drug.
Illegal drugs dramatically affect the reward circuitry in the brain, causing molecular changes that can last for months, and even forever.
Research shows that the drug-induced biochemical and structural redesign of the brain starts from the first experience with an illegal drug.
Continued drug use recruits more areas of the brain via neurochemical sensitisation.
The changes in brain structure and function occur in areas involved in sophisticated reasoning as well as areas responsible for day to day survival.
Frighteningly, these changes are beyond the reach of will power and beyond the reach of psychological insight.
The end result is that illegal drugs change the way people think, feel and act.
As a consequence, illegal drug users behave irresponsibly and are beyond reason.
Drugs, by changing the personality and impulse control, can therefore induce criminal acts.
The Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board focuses on the relationship between drug abuse, crime and violence at the community level.
Some drug abusers and addicts resort to violence either to fund their habits or indeed as a result of the psycho-pharmacological impact of some illicit drugs.
Beyond reason and rational humanism, there are people who believe that illicit drugs can be used in a safe way.
They call themselves ridiculously “harm reductionists”.
Harm reductionists don’t tackle drugs, they erroneously accommodate illegal drugs in their fantasies, to substances that can be used responsibly.
According them, the aim should not be to get people off drugs, apparently, but to keep them on drugs indefinitely, in a way that makes them “less vulnerable”.
Advocates of “harm reduction” actively promote needle exchange programs.
This is a hoax.
Like Fred J. Payne of the Children’s Aids Fund points out in his article “An Evidence-based Review of Needle Exchange Programs”, a review of the reports published in literature does not support the widely proclaimed success of NEP in preventing or reducing HIV transmission among IUDs.
Once and for all, there are no randomised controlled studies that prove making syringes and needles available to addicts prevent the spread of the HIV and hepatitis C viruses.
A study of nearly 1600 Montreal injection drug users found that those participating in the city’s syringe programs dispensing clean needles were 2 times more likely to become infected with HIV than those who did not participate in the program.
A study of needle exchange programs in Seattle found no protective effect of needle exchange on the transmission of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C among participants.
The highest incidence of infection with both viruses occurred among current users of the needle exchange program.
When the Vancouver NEP was established in the late 1980s, the estimated HIV prevalence in Vancouver was 1 – 2% among the city’s population of 6000 – 10.000 IDUs.
While the expectation was for needle exchange to decrease HIV rates, the opposite has occurred.
Both HIV and Hepatitis C have reached “saturation” among the injection drug using population, meaning few if any of those who are not already infected are left to become newly infected, according to the Vancouver Drug Use Epidemiology report, published by the city in July 2003.
The HIV prevalence among the Vancouver Injection Drug Study ( VIDUS ) cohort is 35%, which is “one of the highest incidence rates worldwide”.
With both HIV and Hepatitis C rates have increased in Vancouver since the establishment of the NEP, research has directly linked NEP to this trend.
Needle sharing by IDUs in Vancouver is normative, and quite widespread.
A counsellor at the Vancouver Native Health Society testimonies that people can’t wait to get their fix. A lot of the clients won’t walk the half block down the street to use it. They need to use the drugs the minute they get their hands on them, no matter where they are.
So they’re still doing it in the street, in our doorway and in the alley.
Illegal drug users often do not discard properly their used syringes and needles, increasing the availability and number of syringes and needles on the streets, on beaches and on playgrounds.
Gay men in California who use methamphetamines are twice as likely to be HIV postive than gays who don’t use it, also because methamphetamine use is playing an important role in increasing sexual risk behaviours, which is leading to new HIV and SDT infections.
Several illegal drugs, on top of their DIRECT CELLULAR toxicological effects, ALSO attack DNA, provoking mutations and altering the hereditary material.
This is very worrying for the effects it could have on future generations.
Condoning illegal drug use is also detrimental for our precious nature on earth.
In South-America, many acres of rainforest are destroyed due to cocaine cultivation.
In Morocco, the monoculture of cannabis is dangerous for the ecosystem, especially because the farmers are making an extensive use of noxious fertilizers and pesticides.
Forested areas, which are among the specificities of the Rif area, are destroyed to accommodate new cannabis fields, thus accelerating soil erosion.
Metamphetamine – and XTC-labs are throwing tons of chemical waste in the environment.
Cannabis cultivation requires a lot of water.
Water is derived to the cannabis cultivation, resulting in less water supply for food crops and soil erosion, leading to the progression of the desert, for example in Afghanistan.
Food shortages in Africa are becoming more serious because of a shift from growing food crops to cultivating cannabis.
Drug use is not a victimless crime!
A higher global demand of drugs by drug users results in a incremental production of drugs which leads to the accelerated destruction of the environment.
And drugs are involved in 7 out of 10 cases of child abuse and neglect.
Still, abstinence of illegal drug use is considered by harm reductionists as “unrealistic and punitive” and those who actively promote abstinence are “archaic and abusive”.
It is clear that “harm reduction” is a marketing strategy to loosen the drug laws.
This strategy includes:
1) Create an urgency for change by fostering dissatisfaction and despair with current anti-drug efforts.
2) Shift the focus away from the risks and costs that drug use and drug users impose on non-users.
3) Create myths of positive effects of drugs.
4) Establish accepting and living with drug use as a societal goal for drug policy.
5) Minimize and downplay the dangers and risks associated with drug use.
6) Distinguish drug use from so called drug misuse;
The bottom line is that “Harm reduction” is a Trojan horse for legalisation and decriminalisation of illegal drugs.
One of the most notorious Harm reduction advocates in Belgium is prof. Brice De Ruyver.
In October 2000, Prof. Brice De Ruyver presented his report “Legal (Pre)Conditions and control Mechanisms with regard to risk reduction” at the Pompidou Group Ministerial conference in Portugal.
This report, more than anything else, seems to be a manual for governments about how to circumvent the UN conventions on drugs.
In a recent report, the International Narcotics Control Board drew attention to the fact that harm reduction programmes could not be considered substitutes for demand reduction programmes.
A “harm reduction” policy never resulted in a decrease of drug use.
As for restrictive drug policies, there are abundant examples that demonstrate a decrease of drug use.
Addiction does begin with drug abuse when an individual makes a conscious choice to use drugs.
If adults are misconstruing the facts surrounding drugs for their own benefit, how can a 13 or 14 year-old be prevented from using drugs?
If children and even adults perceive something to be the norm, they tend to alter their behaviours to fit the norm.
Misinformation spread by harm reductionists, causes confusion for the public seeking to make a rational decision on the drug issue.
A lot of people overlook the fact that the drug epidemic is passed from one youngster to the other. Teenagers tell about their experiences with drugs and override others to try also.
The disease of addiction is spread by non-addictive users. They are the carriers of this disease.
The answer to the drug epidemic is the application of strict drug laws, strong societal disapproval, and increased awareness of the devastation drugs are producing.
And yet, parents send their children to school riddled with drugs every day.
If there’s asbestos in a school, parents raise hell about it and won’t send their children to school until it’s out of there.
I mean when parents start to feel as strongly about drugs in school as they do about asbestos in school, we’ll take a major step.
Parents often deny that their child or their child’s friends could be using drugs.
Parents have no idea how easy it is for teens to get drugs.
Drug using teens are unlikely to admit drug use, because they often are in denial that they have a problem.
Why would you worry or get treated when you’re doing something you enjoy doing?
Parents remain the most important influence on children.
Parents must make clear that drug use will not be tolerated.
Children need to understand that parents are concerned because they love them.
Parents need to set a positive example and get involved in their children’s lives and know what they’re doing.
Parents need to talk early and often to them about the dangers of drugs.
But even if you have a good relationship with your children you might not know the whole story.
Drug testing cut through the denial of drug using children.
“Mom, if you trusted me I would be dead right now.” ( slide: drug testing save lives )
Otherwise, what may happen is that
“You die, before you get help. That’s the way I’ve lost most of my mates.”
Let us look more specifically to the most common illegal drugs and give some more arguments why these drugs cannot be used responsibly and safely.
Marijuana that is sold today is more potent.
In the sixties, the average THC content was 0.5% now it is 5%.
Compare this when you take 10 aspirins instead of 1, what this can do to your body.
Skunk and Nederwiet, selectively bred varieties from Holland can have THC contents of anything from 9% to 27%.
This is a very different drug from the one that fuelled the hippy generation.
Addiction has risen dramatically in the last decade, according to a study published by NIDA and reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ( May 2003 ).
Prof. Robin Murray of the Imperial College in London testimonies that psychiatric services, especially in London, are near crisis point due to cannabis induced mental illness, such as psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression.
Professor Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution of the UK, concluded that cannabis modifies the configuration of the networks of the brain cell connections, making one see the world in a different way, characteristically one depleted of any motivation.
The effect of chronic cannabis use affects the cognitive processes in such way that a cannabis user can’t question or criticize his/her behaviour and will therefore be unable to change it without treatment.
The use of cannabis will create a “cannabis pattern”, a new identity, which is a continuous ongoing process, so the longer the use continues, the stronger the “cannabis pattern” will grow.
It is a kind of a filter which eliminates everything negative said about cannabis.
Solvent abuse kills 60 children each year in the UK.
The risks of glue and gass sniffing and inhaling sprays include suffocation and injuries while hallucinating.
In 39% of deaths there is no evidence of previous abuse.
The dose that induces the “high” lies close to the toxic dose, so how can you teach children to use this drug responsibly?
Ecstasy-related emergency department visits in the UK increased progressively and dramatically during the 1990s, with visits tending to be for overdoses and unexpected reactions.
The metabolism of MDMA is regulated by levels of particular enzymes, and a small increase in dosage can lead to a significant rise in drug plasma concentration.
Due to their tolerance to MDMA’s psychoactive effects, some individuals take greater amounts of the drug in an attempt to get the same psycho-active effect they are used to, resulting in increased health risks.
Due to lack of prevention campaigns, users of ecstasy are unaware that the drug can cause mental health problems, dehydratation, cardiac attacks, kidney failure, hepatitis, hyperthermia and even sudden death.
Ecstasy may speed up the normal aging process, leading to Alzheimer-type symptoms.
Cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine cannot be used responsibly because of its severe dependence and risks of overdose, and are often used together with other drugs.
A testimony of a methamphetamine user tells it all:
“ I thought, well I could do a little bit more until I take off the weight and I’m not going do it a lot, just on the weekend. And then it quickly went back to everyday.
Now 2 years into my meth habit, I couldn’t quit, even trough the highs and energy bursts I first felt were gone. Not only I was paranoid, but now instead of devoting my energy to staying ahead at work, I was obsessing about other things.
I didn’t think I could stop.
And if I couldn’t stop, I didn’t want to keep living the way I was living.
There comes a point where everyone needs help.”
The consequences of her drug use became so powerful that she looked for treatment.
The only solution for the drug abuser and drug addict is the abstinence for all drugs.
Abstinence-based treatment give people back their old identity before they got addicted.
Rehabilitated addicts say: “This is really me now. The blanket is gone”.
On the contrary, a harm reduction approach stands for the enabling or facilitating the addiction cycle. It is akin to the concept of co-dependence: “killing someone with kindness” while maintaining a dependence on dangerous maladaptive behavior.
Psychotherapy, treating the underlying cause of drug abuse, can only be successful in people being free of intoxication and having a clear head.
Detoxification, followed by psychotherapy and/or attendance to self help groups such as NA, is the key to recovery.
Rehabilitating drug addicts sneer at harm reductionists and yell:
“Who are you to come over here and tell us that drug use is OK when we’re struggling to get our lives back together?
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is only through a combination of thorough prevention at all levels of society, appropriate enforcement and abstinence based treatment that we can hope to achieve a reduction in the demand of drugs.
To abandon drug control is like abandoning a commitment to social and economic progress.
Members of the government who hide in the face of irrefutable evidence of a permanent and devastating potential within our communities are failing to give leadership.
The truth is that there are no safe ways to use illegal drugs.
Mahatma Ghandi once said:
“Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.
Will he be able to gain anything by it?
Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny?”
I believe a harm reduction approach does not.
Thank you very much for your attention.